FAIRLESS HILLS – Head coach Dan McShane’s young Pennsbury football team made some major progress on Friday night.
After two consecutive shutout defeats, the Falcons scored. In fact, they more than doubled their cumulative points total from the previous three weeks as they toppled visiting William Tennent, 21-6, at Falcon Field.
McShane was the first to admit that it wasn’t pretty at times. It took Pennsbury (2-2) more than 22 minutes to finally crack the scoreboard against the winless Panthers (0-4). But with Pennsbury’s defense collecting four turnovers and running back Nasan Robbins carrying 23 times for 88 yards, the points came. And they came as a relief.
“We’ve kind of been waiting for the flood gates to open. I guess this is the flood gates (compared to) the way we’ve been,” said McShane, whose team had lost to LaSalle, 28-0, and North Penn, 38-0, in consecutive weeks.
Before Friday night, Pennsbury’s only points of the season came in a 10-6 win over Frankford in the season opener.
“Our kids have been playing so hard, we’re pressing,” McShane said.
“We’re disappointed that we haven’t been more competitive, but we got our business done tonight. Now, we’re going to go watch some tape and get better.”
Early on, the signs were not good. Pennsbury failed to gain a first down on its first two possessions. On the third, quarterback Zach Demarchis completed an 11-yard pass to Andrew Basalyga on first down, but Tennent stopped Robbins on consecutive runs, then forced an incomplete pass. The Falcons had to punt.
Pennsbury held serve defensively as Tyrone Hodges and Garry Minnes each intercepted a pass in the scoreless first quarter. Turnovers would be a crucial factor later in the contest.
In the second quarter, Pennsbury held the ball for 10 consecutive plays, moving from its own 14 into Panthers territory. But three penalties set back the Falcons and they punted again.
When Tennent took over at its own 26, they fumbled a handoff and allowed Pennsbury to recover the ball in great field position. Demarchis passed 19 yards to Joe Meglen before Hodges scored on a 1-yard run. The Falcons finally led, 7-0.
Tennent dominated possession in the third quarter, but the Falcons defense didn’t break. Demarchis doubled Pennsbury’s lead with a 68-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the period. For the game, the quarterback had a net 57 yards rushing and another 57 passing as Pennsbury out-gained Tennent, 205-163.
Tennent capped a nine-play, 83-yard drive when Sean Bragen ran for a four-yard touchdown that made the score 14-6. Pennsbury gifted the Panthers 30 yards in the drive on a pair of personal foul calls on a single play.
Pennsbury iced the game late in the fourth quarter when Hodges intercepted his second pass of the night deep in Tennent territory, then Demarchis passed 10 yards to Austin Palmer for a touchdown.
Pennsbury 21, William Tennent 6
(Sept. 16 at Pennsbury)
TENNENT (0-4) 0 0 0 6—6
PENNSBURY (2-2) 0 7 7 7—21
P-Hodges 1 run (Knop kick)
P-Demarchis 68 run (Knop kick)
T-Bragen 4 run (kick blocked)
P-Palmer 10 pass from Demarchis (Knop kick)